5 Ways You Can Support Black Lives Right Now
Concerning nonviolence, it is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks. — Malcolm X
From Los Angeles to New York City, the killing of George Floyd last week by police officers in Minneapolis has ignited protests across the nation. Yet, until yesterday, only one former police officer had been charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter despite this public outrage. The other three officers involved in Floyd’s death are now charged with aiding and abetting murder.
Black protesters and allies immediately took to the streets demanding justice, accountability, and the end to police brutality in our communities. The result? We have been met with only more violence at the hands of law enforcement. Trump has even threatened to unleash military force on protesters. But even tear gassed, pepper sprayed, beaten and arrested, we will never stop protesting our oppression and dehumanization.
Black lives matter. Our lives matter. Period.
George Floyd’s death was not the flame that ignited civil unrest over police killings of Black people in America — it was the tipping point of an already raging inferno of Black suffering and outrage over the injustice of racial violence against our people by those allegedly sworn to “protect” us. The recent murders of Floyd and other Black men and women at the hands of police and white supremacists only contribute to a larger systemic problem and growing trend of dehumanizing Black lives. Breonna Taylor. Ahmaud Arbery. We are still seeking answers and demanding justice for their deaths.
Now more than ever we need people to show up for the Black community and support our efforts to end police brutality. As protesters continue the struggle on the front lines, here’s how to support them directly:
DONATE TO BAIL FUNDS
The Minnesota Freedom Fund has already raised over $20 million dollars to help protesters in Minneapolis and throughout the state. The Black Visions Collective Movement and Legal Fund, a Black, trans and queer-led organization, is helping lead the protests and advocating to defund the police in Minnesota. Donate here.
Here are other funds organized by Black organizers and other people of color to bail out protesters in other cities across the country:
- Austin, TX: Donate to the Austin (TX) Emergency Bail Fund and the 400 + 1 Bail Fund to help protesters on the front line.
- Boston, MA: Donate to the Massachusetts Bail Fund, which is already posting bail for protesters who have been arrested.
- Chicago, IL: The Chicago Community Bond Fund supports those impacted by structural violence who cannot pay bail and is committed to paying bond for everyone arrested at protests right now. Currently, the Fund has over $2.5 million available for bailouts and is encouraging people to generously donate to other Chicago organizations, such as Assata’s Daughters, Circles & Ciphers, Black Lives Matter Chicago, Chicago Freedom School, and many others working towards abolition and the liberation of Black people.
- Dallas, TX: The North Texas Community Bail Fund provides bail assistance to low-income individuals in Dallas County.
- Denver, CO: The Colorado Freedom Fund is accepting donations to pay bond for protesters here.
- Fargo and Morehead, ND: The F-M Solidarity Fund provides funds in partnership with Fargo Moorhead Black Lives Matter for medical Bills for those injured during the protest and bail funds for those being detained for protesting. Donate here.
- Fort Worth, TX (and surrounding areas): Donate to the Tarrant County Community Bail Fund administered by United Fort Worth. The Fund’s goal is to fight against the pandemics of mass incarceration and COVID-19 by bailing out incarcerated persons facing both public health threats in jail and in the community.
- Las Vegas, NV: The Vegas Freedom Fund was founded in 2018 in an effort to combat mass incarceration in Clark County. They free people in need, reunite families, and restore the presumption of innocence.
- Los Angeles, CA: The People’s City Council Freedom Fund fund will provide legal support, pay bail, fines, and court fees for arrested protesters,medical bills and transportation for injured protesters, direct monetary support to Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, and much more.
- Louisville, KY: Louisville, where Breona Taylor was murdered by police while sleeping, has the Louisville Community Bail Fund to help bail out protesters. Donate to their efforts here.
- New York City, NY: The Brooklyn Community Bail Fund and Free Them All for Public Health, the group in NYC specifically set up to support bail for demonstrators, are currently overwhelmed with donations and have requested that people donate to other community bail funds here.
- Philadelphia, PA: The Philadelphia Community Bail Fund was already working on bailing out jails to protect individuals who could not afford bail bonds from COVID-19. Now they’re bailing out protesters, too. You can also donate to their sibling bail fund — Philadelphia Bail Fund — here.
- Richmond, VA: The Richmond Bail Fund provides numerous services, including posting bail for protesters, recruiting and compensating attorneys, and coordinating jail support.
- San Francisco, CA: Originally formed to support Occupy Oakland actions, the Bay Area Anti-Repression Committee (ARC) stands against political repression and is in solidarity with all those who challenge the state, capitalism and other forms of systemic oppression and domination. Donate to their bail fund here, which is supporting protesters and others that do not have the resources to bail themselves out when facing state repression. ARC is also encouraging donations to the Transgender Gender-Variant Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP), a Black-led San Francisco-based organization that supports trans women of color in the prison system and after release. You can donate to them through their website.
- Seattle, WA: The Northwest Community Bail Fund provides cash bail to people accused of low-level crimes in the Seattle area and are bailing out protesters. Support them here.
- Nationally: The Bail Project is a national organization founded in the Bronx. The Project’s mission is to combat mass incarceration at the front end of the system. They pay bail for people in need, reuniting families and restoring the presumption of innocence.
Don’t see your city or state? Find more community bail fund resources here or search this directory through the National Bail Fund Network. Also, check out this comprehensive guide on how to support protesters in every city, from bail funds to organizations providing medical care during protests.
DONATE TO LEGAL DEFENSE FUNDS AND HELP FIND LEGAL AID
In addition to posting bond, activists and demonstrators who have been arrested at protests will need legal support beyond bailouts. Check out the following opportunities to support legal defense funds and other resources for protesters in need of legal aid.
- Law For Black Lives (L4BL) is committed to providing support for the people in the streets who want to be of service to movement at this moment. If you are someone who is in need of legal support (from rapid response to legal research) please fill out this survey. L4BL will be in touch within 48 hours to let you know how its members can support you.
- Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp has established a legal defense initiative to provide legal services for protesters on the ground in Minneapolis and nationwide. Donate here.
- The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) is providing pro bono legal aid nationwide to those protesting the police killing of George Floyd through its Mass Defense Committee (MDC). Donate here.
- Along with a state-by-state listing of bail funds, this document contains information for lawyers around the country offering legal representation pro-bono or at reduced rates.
- This spreadsheet lists Texas lawyers who are offering pro bono or reduced rates for protesters, along with contact information and templates for how to ask for representation.
- In Austin, Texas, the Austin Emergency Legal Fund has an arrestee form that protesters may complete to access legal support if arrested by the Austin Police Department.
- In Dallas, Texas, Jasmine Crockett is offering to represent protesters taken into custody. Contact her via phone at (469) 527–4100.
- In Cleveland, Ohio, the Esparza Rivero Law Group is offering free representation to those arrested at local protests.
- In Portland, Oregon, Kafoury and McDougal will represent protesters pro bono. Contact them at (503) 224–2647.
- In Baltimore, Maryland, support the Baltimore Action Legal Team, which is providing legal relief in the city of Baltimore for Black activists and protesters.
- In Los Angeles, the People’s City Council is organizing a fundraiser to assist protesters by paying legal fees, bail, and court fines, as well as directing monetary support to the National Lawyers Guild and other groups assisting protesters with legal aid.
- In New York City, you can call Good Call NYC, a NYC-based legal aid nonprofit who will connect arrested demonstrators with a lawyer at (833) 346–6322.
Find additional legal support by searching the hashtag #ProBono on Twitter.
SUPPORT SOCIAL JUSTICE ORGANIZATIONS COMMITTED TO ENDING POLICE BRUTALITY
While immediate assistance for protesters is needed, the fight to end police racism and brutality by instituting sweeping reforms will require long-term support. Help sustain Black-led movement organizations working to defend and protect Black lives against state-sanctioned violence at the hands of law enforcement across the U.S.
- Black Lives Matter is leading the fight for structural and community-based change to end police violence against Black persons in America. Find local chapters and donate here.
- In Minnesota, the Black Visions Collective advocates and builds powerful campaigns for the autonomy and community-led safety of Black people across the state. Donate here to support their efforts to end police violence.
- Reclaim the Block is an organization in Minneapolis that organizes community and city council members to move money from the police department into other areas of the city’s budget that truly promote community health and safety. Support its community-led safety initiatives and efforts to defund the police here.
- Check out these other 13 organizations leading the fight against police brutality in Black communities nationwide.
PAY YOUR TEACHERS
Hundreds of Black activists, especially Black femmes, that work to end police brutality expend a disproportionate amount of unpaid time and energy educating non-Black folks on the racist roots of criminal justice and policing in America. Our physical survival depends on white people recognizing that there’s a boot on our necks — one that belongs to them. Our well-being depends on taking a stand and carving out space for our liberation, but the battle against white supremacy takes a massive toll both physically and mentally. Those benefiting from the work and wisdom of Black femme teachers today should honor these individuals by paying up.
Here’s a starting guide on how to pay your teachers working on social media and on the ground in communities affected by police racism and violence.
RESOURCES FOR BLACK TRAUMA AND HEALING
In addition to our lives, Black mental health matters too. As the Black community begins to recover from the racial trauma inflicted on our people this past week, we need to focus on, process, and center our healing. Seek support from family and loved ones, as well as help from mental health professionals when needed. Check out our resource on ways you can foster mental health and practice restorative healing.
Here is a list of additional resources and referrals for people of color to help process race-based trauma:
- Therapy for Black Girls
- Open Path Collective
- National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network
- Virtual mental health resources for Black women
More referral networks and Black mental health resources: